New York, N.Y.

John Cardinal O’Connor recently visited 27 Operation Rescue prisoners in Westchester County Valhalla jail and hailed them “for doing the work God has called them to do.”

The 27 mean and women were attending Mass while serving ten days in jail stemming from a Rescue action in Dobbs Ferry last March. In addition, they were ordered to either pay $200 or do community service.

After Mass, the Cardinal told the group he had contacted Randall Terry’s wife – a mother of four children – to assure her of financial assistance any time it becomes necessary. Randall Terry is the Evangelical leader of Operation Rescue, jailed late last year for his participation in Atlanta-area rescues. The Cardinal added he was “very moved” by wonderful work – “God’s work” – being accomplished by Operation Rescue all over the country. One prisoner, a father of 12 children, described the visit as “emotion-filled.”

One Rescuer who was not jailed explained why most do not pay fines or do community service: “Paying fines would break us. Judges would just keep raising the fines each time. Don’t forget that these men and women do not commit crimes. They obey God’s higher law. While doing community service may seem easy, it is nevertheless an admission of guilt. Our community service is done when we prevent the killing of unborn babies. That’s real community service.